#4 healing poetry; the ones I loved

We sat on the cold plastic floor,
Outside a lecture hall, named after a man,
probably. We cuddled up together.
You saw I had Peter Gabriel’s ‘Book of Love’ open.
You were shocked. So was I.
We’d just discovered that our phone passcodes
had just one digit switched.
It was serendipity, of course.
It had to be.
I was embarrassed that you saw that I had a tab open,
‘how to get rid of muffin-top.’ Your ex’s were shockingly
skinny, and as that was my definition of beautiful,
I wanted to be beautiful for you.
We walked down the canal in Galway,
listening to a man singing about wedding rings,
not long after.
I was just about to turn 20.
Before I started writing, I didn’t realise, that I remember –
the warmth of your hand in mine.
How warm I felt, when you held mine.

In the car, you drove badly,
nervously glancing at me.
You had something to tell me, and I guessed what it was.
I had been visiting my cousin in London, and
though the trains were delayed,
I raced to get to you in Birmingham.
I would be 23 soon, surely, I thought, this one is the one.
We were nervous, and our first time wasn’t like a
first time at all.
After all, it was only the second time we had met up.
Modern love, entailed falling in love with
a black-mirror persona…
We stared, unblinking, wondering at the
non-awkwardness of it.
Even though we didn’t know each other very well.
I remember sitting unclothed in your lap,
Holding you – have you ever noticed that against
the warmth of someone’s skin, body fears fade?
I guess that’s why some people use sex the way
others use alcohol.
You were a minute illusion, but God, I loved you.
You lessened the pain.

He had just walked away from me.
I was 19, maybe. I didn’t know he had a girlfriend, I wouldn’t
find out about that until later.
I sat in the light rain, waiting on the steps by the library,
if memory serves me correctly…
I texted you, you had been answering them more recently.
Looking back, I wonder if it wasn’t because seeing me
with someone else, made you value me more.
The boy I had been with walked the flyover over the college,
as you came sauntering towards me with that confident gait,
that always made me think about licking lollipops.
You asked me to yours, as the other one texted me –
“What would have happened, if I came running after you?”
But by then it was too late, and I wonder if that boy
might just have been my first heartbreak, but
I was too caught up in the fun of you to worry much to
much about it.

6 weeks after a break-up, and I’m dancing with a guy
I’ve seen around at work.
He has a quiet power.
I’m older now, and I can see things I didn’t before.
We couldn’t stop kissing on the dance floor of a club
that we were
slowly aging out of.
I’m about to turn 24, and I don’t think it’s my heart that’s broken this time.
I have a suspicion it might just be my soul.
I didn’t think I’d ever feel that way about someone,
the way I felt about you,
but he proved me wrong.
In one night.
There’s an exquisite sort of sorrow in realising,
the one you loved the most,
could be usurped by free choice.
I felt a soaring in me – from the first moment he held me from behind.
It was supposed to be quick, but it was languid, and sweet and drunk.
He had a gentle grace, and an all consuming presence, when we were alone.
After that, we became friends.
And I pushed him away because I knew I had his desire,
but I don’t think I had his respect.
Noticing that was the beginning of loving myself.

He was dark, and broken, and I knew it.
I couldn’t help but touch what reminded me of you.
I blew it, but it was wonderful before I left that country,
with the taste of a few more on my lips,
but just a few who scored my heart.
I’m not sure that he was one,
but I think about the darkness of him sometimes,
when I feel a little dark myself.

Healing, sweetheart,
is sometimes recognising that love is saying no.
Love is saying so be it, I’ll jump into an abyss
of unknowns and curling, sinewy limbs,
Thoughts about love and different things
that make your skin shudder in the most delectable way.

Sometimes love is only loving yourself enough to say that
no matter how many little loves have graced the day
of your life,
there is no greater love than the love of your life –
You, sweetheart.
Stormy nights where cold hands grasp the heat,
of lesser seen parts, and awaken a fire that requires
no description other than ‘hearth’ sink into my brain still.
Can memories have teeth?
I remember how they bit me.
When the lines between animal and human became blurred.
The lines between us – only existed to elicit a friction that made our
toes curl.

Healing is wearing the pain sometimes, until it falls to rags,
at your feet.

Healing is describing these little moments with the ones I loved,
because it was beautiful once, and we should record beautiful things.

Healing is knowing that pain is not the only thing I gave or took.
Healing is heated nights with strange people who touch a part of your loneliness,
and take it away – even for just a moment.

Healing is hating that someone else can’t take it away forever. And knowing that only you can make loneliness not so lonely.

Healing is remembering the twinkling of streetlights on rainy cobblestone paths, with visible breath and quick fast kisses on the bar steps.

Healing is touching, skin to skin, and soul to soul and wearing
scars as tapestries of lives lived – tattoos of kisses left years ago.
By people we no longer know.

Healing is poetry.
Healing is poetry.
Healing is poetry, about the ones I loved.

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